IT’S been an eventful old week in the world of horse racing.
Take a look at our latest instalment of Hotpots and Howlers, where we pick out the good, the bad and the downright ugly from the last seven days.
They don’t come better than Joseph O’Brien.
Kilkenny’s greatest export may look unnervingly like the Matrix’s Agent Smith, but when it comes to finishing the job there’s no-one better.
The 26-year-old boy wonder was at Santa Anita on Saturday night to watch Iridessa – and she produced a power-packed performance to nose home in the Filly and Mare Turf.
Eight years after becoming the youngest Breeders’ Cup-winning jockey, O’Brien became the meeting’s youngest winning trainer – and it’s scary to think his career has only just begun.
In a lousy couple of days for the European brigade, his star shone bright.
A tip of the cap, too, to Belvoir Bay.
The bullet-fast speedster shot out of the traps in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and nothing got near her coattails.
The victory was all the more remarkable considering she went missing in the San Luis Rey Fire two years ago and had to be nursed back to health, so the fact she was able to win a Breeders’ Cup race – let alone any contest – is nigh on miraculous.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the performance of the day in Britain came from Kim Bailey’s classy Vinndication.
The nosebanded Goliath oozes quality from every pore and stamped his authority on the Sodexo Gold Cup field at Ascot.
Rated 151 beforehand, he’ll surely be in the 160s before long and must come into the reckoning for the big 3m+ graded races if he continues his impressive rise.
I doubt many have ever seen a race quite like Saturday’s Listed Handicap Chase at Ascot.
Coming down to the last, trainer Paul Nicholls will have been counting his cash as his two runners – Diego Du Charmil and Capeland – looked set to fight out the finish.
Cue carnage, though, as Diego Du Charmil slid off-piste and hung further left than a broken coat-hanger, taking Capeland with him.
Lorcan Williams’ mount ran all the way down the fence and jumped through the wing, leaving Bryony Frost and Capeland with no choice but to crash through the plastic.
Diego Du Charmil somehow managed to cling on and past the post in front, despite the closing pack mowing him down as the line approached.
The ding-dong bell of the Stewards’ Enquiry came and went, with the officials disqualifying Capeland for not completing the course.
However, in one of the most jaw-dropping decisions since Originial Film Studios commissioned an eighth instalment of The Fast And The Furious, they let Diego Du Charmil keep the race.
In any other situation a horse causing that much interference would be 1.01 to lose it, with the jockey also liable to face discipline.
The stewards seemed to forget about that bit, and instead concentrated on whether or not Diego Du Charmil took the correct course. Madness.
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Over in Australia, it all kicked off when Racing Victoria deemed Marmelo unfit to take part in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
Vets checked out Hughie Morrison’s globetrotter and reckoned he had incomplete fractures in his near fore and off hind cannon bones.
Controversy began when the horse’s connections – headed by Morrison – strenuously denied anything was wrong with him, and could now take legal action.
If successful, the owners have said they’ll donate any money earned to charity – but isn’t there a bigger issue here?
WRONG MARMEL-AID Connections of Marmelo to take legal action after Melbourne Cup withdrawal
Racing – and sport in general – has to have respect.
If you go to someone else’s house for dinner and are told you’re not allowed wine because you look worse for wear, you’re going to respect their decision.
You may not like it, but you’ll respect it.
As Aidan O’Brien said on Saturday following the scratching of Fleeting in the Filly and Mare Turf, ‘we’re happy with her but the vets weren’t. In an international jurisdiction you have to abide by their rules’.
Connections of Marmelo may not like Racing Victoria’s decision to scratch him from the Melbourne Cup, but they should respect it.